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Hoedus I

Haedi, Zeta Aurigae, 8 Aurigae

Proper NameHoedus I, Haedi
Bayer DesignationZeta Aurigae
Flamsteed Number8 Aurigae
BSC1612
HD32068
ConstellationAuriga
Right Ascension5h 2m 29s
Declination+41° 4' 33"
Distance788 light years
242 parsecs
MagnitudeApparent: +3.8 to +3.9
Absolute: -3.1 to -3.0
Spectral ClassK4 Orange Giant
Optimum VisibilityDecember/January

A huge and brilliant orange star in the constellation of Auriga. Though it is extremely luminous, it is also very distant from Earth (nearly 800 light years), and so it only appears to be of relatively faint magnitude, varying around +3.86.

This variability is caused by a faint companion star crossing in front of the disk of the primary supergiant. Every 972 days, a small blue star (actually, somewhat larger than our own Sun, but small in comparison to its primary) moves between the massive orange star and the Earth. This brief event causes the brightness of Hoedus I, as observed from Earth, to fall slightly.

Hoedus I is a winter star of the northern hemisphere, and like all the stars of its constellation Auriga, is most easily observed between November and January. It lies directly on the band of the Milky Way, about 5° south of its brilliant neighbour, Capella.

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